First is loyalty. Second is the chance to work for a "football man." Third is an opportunity to win immediately.
Fulmer is fiercely loyal. He declined several opportunities to leave UT because of allegiance to his alma mater. And he may have allowed his program to stall at times because of devotion to some assistants who were not productive. Even Fulmer's staunchest supporters admitted he might be "loyal to a fault."
Boston College Athletic Director Gene DeFilippo may place an even higher value on loyalty than Fulmer. DeFilippo recently fired head coach Jeff Jagodzinski just because he interviewed for the New York Jets' coaching vacancy.
Moreover, DeFilippo qualifies as a football man. He and Fulmer were graduate assistants together at Tennessee in 1973, where they forged a friendship that lasts to this day. DeFilippo went on to serve as offensive coordinator at Youngstown State (1975-79) and offensive backfield coach at Vanderbilt (1980-82) before shifting into the administrative side of collegiate athletics.
The opportunity to work for a "football man" obviously would appeal to Fulmer, who cut his coaching teeth in an era when most athletics directors were former football coaches – Doug Dickey at Tennessee, Vince Dooley at Georgia and Frank Broyles at Arkansas to name just a few. Nowadays, more and more schools are hiring ADs with fund-raising expertise who never coached the game. If Fulmer wants to serve under a bona fide football man, DeFilippo may represent his best opportunity to do so.
Finally, Boston College provides an opportunity to win immediately. The Eagles are coming off back-to-back seasons of 11-3 in 2007 and 9-4 in 2008. Clearly, BC does not represent a rebuilding job, as is the case with most programs looking to hire a head coach.
There is one major obstacle, though, standing between Fulmer and the Eagles' head coaching position. Ironically, that would be DeFilippo's loyalty. He supposedly is leaning toward promoting from within. Thus, defensive coordinator Frank Spaziani, offensive coordinator Steve Logan and offensive line coach Jack Bicknell, Jr., are considered to be the top three candidates to succeed Jagodzinski.
Maybe DeFilippo would reconsider, however, if he got a call from an old friend that he once served alongside as a graduate assistant at Tennessee.
A longshot? Sure. But it could happen.